I’ve had an Original Fare gift card, care of Kim (I’m Only Here for the Food), burning a hole in my wallet for way too long now. Offering his readers a chance to win a gift card of their choice, it was an easy decision when I was selected. What wasn’t easy was deciding which of the participating restaurants I was going to visit. I could go back to Culina (it never disappoints), or maybe use it to reduce the $90 damage at The Blue Pear. So many good solid choices, and yet the card still burned in my pocket. Finally though, after a failed attempt at Von’s, I called European Accent Lounge and booked a table for four.
Picking up The Captain, BP, and Sarah, we were off for our 6 o’clock reservation. Located just a hop and skip from Whyte Ave, this little eatery offers a mix of European dishes with your more standard fare. The interior is cozy, with a heavy layer of dark woods enveloping everything. Upon arrival, we found the restaurant occupied by a few couples (so much for the reservation), and selected a raised table facing the street.
A quick look at the menu, and I knew right away that I wanted to sample their tartare. While The Captain was down, I think a few nervous looks by BP and Sarah confirmed that this dish still has quite the stigma. With a small and large option, I decided to go big or go home and ordered the large. Accompanying the tartare was slices of a light rye bread. Our server (who was fantastic all night) mentioned that the bread normally comes fried, but if we wanted, we could have it toasted; which is the path we took. What arrived was a big, rich, vibrant red, serving of tartare. The meat was perfectly seasoned and it offered a richness that was out of this world. Roasted garlic, and chopped sweated onions were mixed with the medium grind of meat and everything spread like butter on the toasted rye. Sarah, was surprised by the dish, stating how fantastic it was, while BP couldn’t say the same and didn’t have more than a tiny sample before throwing in the towel. The Captain and I both agreed it was a definite must have dish here.
The timing between the tartare and our mains was perfect, and after a few minutes to digest and relax, the plates arrived. Sarah opted for the Veggie Stack, which was exactly what it sounds like. Roasted veggies, with a layer of cheese and and toasted ciabatta. Noting a difference from the top half to the bottom, Sarah offered me a few bites. It was easy to taste the sprinkled spices on top, but they didn’t completely make there way to the bottom. A more even hand is the only thing that was needed with this delicate dish.
BP had scoped out the online menu before hand, and decided on the tenderloin sandwich before we even arrived. No disappointment here, the medium rare beef, goat cheese, and grilled bread was deemed a big success. With the mixed green salad and roasted potatoes making for great sides.
The Captain, after a bit of contemplation, finally decided on the wiener schnitzel and with a little help from the waitress, ended up with the large order. Deceptively intimidating on arrival, both pieces were tender and thin, resulting in a very manageable portion. Having a taste, I thought the breading was seasoned well and that the dish was fried to a perfect golden brown. The vegetables were sauteed and offered a hint of herby goodness. Another solid choice.
Sticking with the European trend (it’s in their name right) I decided on the goulash. What arrived was a thick stew of perfectly tender meat, in a rich hot paprika sauce. This was comfort food at it’s finest, and made me wonder why I don’t make this at home. The bread, which was tasty in it’s toasted form (tartare), was bland when left plain. I also wondered why the butter came in little containers; it seemed a little tacky considering the ambiance and quality of plating.
The everyday dessert menu includes fruit crepes, chocolate torte, and apple strudel. We opted for the dessert of the day, which was a marbled chocolate cheesecake. Surprisingly light, it wasn’t so rich that you would feel dirty for eating it all.
For 100 bucks, minus $50 (thanks again Kim!!) this was an absolutely wonderful meal. The prices, the service, and the food made for a very memorable evening; something I hope for each time I go out. With it’s proximity to Whyte, I’m surprised on a Friday night there wasn’t a larger amount of customers. I for one, would definitely include this into the repertoire of Whyte Ave dinning.